University of Oregon Board of Trustees Meeting
Sept. 11, 2015
• Members of the Board of Trustees and President Schill:
• Thank you for the invitation to be here. I have been looking forward to this conversation.
Working together for student success
• We are here today as partners in opening the doors of opportunity to every Oregonian.
• As a state, we have set clear expectations for student success from birth to career. While my job description has changed, my principles have not – my priorities remain – affordability and accessibility/equity – with a focus on completion.
• As Oregon’s education leader, I will work to ensure every student has a clear pathway to high school and postsecondary completion.
• Your leadership to support students on this path is critical. One great example is through PathwayOregon, a program that ensures eligible Oregonians who are academically qualified for Federal Pell Grants will have their University of Oregon tuition and fees paid with a combination of federal, state, and university funds.
• One beneficiary is Naivasha Smith, a fourth-year student majoring in psychology. She is from Eugene and graduated from Churchill High School.
• She says the program was easy because it was a regular part of the application process. She said, “I didn’t have to worry about finding a bunch of different loans. Without the program’s financial assistance and support, I would not have been able to make college possible.”
• She is on track to graduate this fall, two terms ahead of schedule, and hopes to become a police officer. She’s well on her way as she passed the physical examination and begins interviews in October.
• I commend the University’s ongoing commitment to raise the level of educational attainment of Oregonians, first generation college students, students of color, and those experiencing poverty.
State Support for Public Universities
• I am proud to say we have reversed a long period of disinvestment in higher education.
• With your efforts, we have achieved nearly 700 million dollars in state funding – fought with you to achieve this amount – will continue to stand with you.
• The 19 percent year-over-year increase in state funding for the University of Oregon is a great start.
• We have expanded the Oregon Opportunity Grant, making college more accessible and affordable for 16,000 Oregon students and their families over the next two years.
• I am invested in your emerging leadership as a premier public research university. Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of Oregon – Oregon’s best.
• We can and will do more to provide stable and adequate resources for higher education in Oregon.
Coordination Across Higher Education in Oregon
Here are some ways I hope we can work together going forward to achieve our state wide goals for student success:
• Continued collaboration among all of Oregon’s public universities.
• Expanded connections between higher education and K-12 schools.
• Open and productive engagement with my office and with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
• I encourage you to help inform and shape the HECC’s goals, and partner with them to meet the outcomes we set forth as a state.
• I believe in the University of Oregon. I am committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you.
• Next, I’d like to hear about your perspective, and would like to begin with a few questions:
o What are your goals and aspirations for students who attend the University of Oregon?
o What are the greatest opportunities and challenges you face as university trustees?
o How can the state best support the university and the Board in your governance role at the university?